Germany extends federal funds until 2012

Ministry for Culture and Media receiving $2.1 bil

BERLIN -- The German federal cabinet approved a new budget Wednesday, allocating 1.3 billion euros ($2.1 billion) to the Ministry for Culture and the Media, a 7.8% increase.

Significantly, the budget extends the German Federal Film Fund (DFFF), which has lured the likes of Tom Cruise and the Wachowskis to shoot their latest films in Berlin, until 2012.

Citing investment of 540 million euros since the DFFF's inception in 2007, Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media Bernd Neumann called the fund an "outstanding funding model" and stressed its positive effects for the local workforce and Germany as a filming location.

The DFFF has thus far extended funding to such U.S. fare as Cruise starrer "Valkyrie," the Wachowski brother's "Speed Racer," "The Reader" and the upcoming "Ninja Assassin." Recent local beneficiaries include Til Schweiger's "1_ Ritter," Sherry Hormann's "Wustenblume" and Michael Haneke's "Das Weisse Band."

The federal budget will now be passed on to the German parliament, which will most likely ratify it toward the end of the year.